CD reviews for June 10

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White Stripes

"Get Behind Me Satan"

On sale at All That Jazz for $14.98

Jack and Meg White stripped music down to its basic rhythm and melody -- teaching bands across America that they don't need a bass player or a separate frontman. Their lesson: You and your roommate can have a band if one of you can play the drums. Meg White taught us that you don't even have to be able to play the drums to have a band.

But most two-person bands don't last very long -- to the relief of every bass player looking for work. The only reason the White Stripes can survive in the rock 'n' roll world is the many sides of Jack White that fill the emptied stage.

White Stripes is as much a cult of the personality as anything. Jack is this generation's gothic Mick Jagger, our dark-eyed John Lennon. We follow him through a dark tunnel of musical sounds as he searches for something.

It's too late to turn back now, and even if you could walk away, it's hard to stop listening for what's going to come next.

For this album, the Whites wander around the world of Old Timey music, peeking their heads into turn-of-the-century revival tents and carnival wagons, all while keeping their feet firmly plugged into 2005.

Rated: Jack White gets in touch with his inner Beatle.

Sprout

"Soundtrack from the surf movie by Thomas Campbell"

Available at All That Jazz for $17.98

Take away the rolling waves and the sun-bleached surfers from this soundtrack and see what happens.

Quickly you realize that the world of Dick Dale has been softly sanded away by the drum brushes and whispering men with acoustic guitars.

Produced by music's favorite surfer, Jack Johnson, on his Brushfire Records label, the soundtrack is a jazzy collection of music by artists as varied as Oliver Nelson and The Shins.

The album starts out slow, and you end up feeling like you're sinking under water, watching the surface disappear forever, rather than on top of the water riding a big one to shore.

You eventually flotsam and jetsam through this mellow record until you have to move your thoughts away from the water before you fall asleep and swallow a big lungful of the sea.

Rated: I need a hammock.

David Byrne

"Grown Backwards"

Available at All That Jazz for $17.98

In a world where most of the weirdos are just trying to be weird, it's always refreshing to come across someone who is truly odd to the core of his being. Thank God for you, David Byrne. You are a strange, strange man.

Last summer, when Byrne took the stage on tour for this album, I adjusted my view through the triangle of someone's armpit so I could see his face -- often the vantage point of smaller music fans such as myself.

He had backed himself with a Brazilian rhythm section and, for a moment, you thought of his field recordings of music from around the world as the crown on his career instead of that band he was in years ago.

He stood there in front of us -- black suit, white sneakers -- dancing a ridiculous hopping dance and singing slow songs.

Byrne always has seemed equal parts sophistication and awkwardness, and this latest album is no different.

Rated: You can see yourself in the shiny packaging.

-- Autumn Phillips

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